NASCAR crew chief teleconference: Rodney Childers

NASCAR crew chief teleconference: Rodney Childers

THE MODERATOR: Rodney, you've been in this situation before with the #4 team. Does that help your team at all, and how do you plan to approach this weekend in Miami?

RODNEY CHILDERS: Yeah, I think having that experience from 2014 and 2015 was a big learning experience for us, definitely for me being the first-time racing for a championship. I think it has helped this year just being more prepared, knowing what you need to have done before you leave the shop, and just having all your ducks in a row before you get there.

Q. First off, the reduction in tires for this event, obviously there have been a reduction of tires at other events this season, so that's nothing new. In what way does it change things or does it really change much at all other than you always like to have as many sets as possible?

RODNEY CHILDERS: I think it changes a lot. You know, last week since we got locked in at Texas, I was able to watch the 2014 race, the 2015 race and the 2016 race, and the excitement of those races was at the end with people putting tires on. In '14 we put 11 sets of tires on, I think the 18 put 11 sets of tires on last year to stay in contention. It's concerning to me. I don't feel like there's enough tires, and the last thing you want to do is run out of tires with 40 laps to go and not be able to do anything or race for a championship at the end.

I've been trying to push a little bit, see if we can't get an extra set for the race. But it's going to be a huge concern going into it.

Q. Obviously, there's the competition on the track between the drivers, but there's also the competition between the crew chiefs. You've competed against these guys especially, most of these guys for championships in the past. Of the other three crew chiefs, who challenges you the most?

RODNEY CHILDERS: I don't think any of the three really challenge me any more than the others. We all get along really good, all those guys I respect a lot, and I have really good relationships with all of them. I think if I was going to race against three other guys, those are the three that I would want to race against. I think just having those relationships means a lot. When Adam beat us in 2015, I was the first one out on the front straightaway to congratulate him.

I like Cole a lot, and I was just talking to Paul an hour ago. We all get along good, and I think we all respect each other and look forward to racing against each other.

Q. This race obviously could come down to a late-race restart; you've got a pretty good guy when it comes down to that, but is there really any way to prepare for that, or do you just kind of leave those situations in his hands?

RODNEY CHILDERS: You have to prepare for it best you can. You have to work on your transmission ratios and stuff over the years to try to get that zeroed in. With switching to Ford, that's been something that we've had to change a little bit from last year and trying to figure out where that power band is at and what we need to do differently. But I feel like we've got it a lot better lately, and it's all about hitting that stuff perfect, having an engine that will run good on the bottom end on the initial start, and I feel like Doug and that group has done a good job with that, also.

We feel good about it. Hopefully we can take advantage of that.

Q. As you were watching those old races, when the caution came out, were you like, well, would I pit now if I knew that there was a stage caution coming up? How much does knowing when two of the yellows come impact your strategy?

RODNEY CHILDERS: Yeah, I mean, I think that would be part of it. Trying to figure out when is it worth using a set of tires, does the stage mean anything, no, but you have to make sure you don't put yourself in a position to go a lap down before that stage does come out.

So if you get -- if you run green at the beginning, you pit under green at lap 40 and you get another caution 20 laps later and you've got 20 laps until the end of the stage, you pretty much have to put tires on or you're going to be two seconds a lap slower than the people with tires. It would be hard not to go a lap down or come close to it. It just depends on where the cautions fly.

Last year we only used eight sets of tires and we had no stages and no issues. With these stages, you're going to use more. If you have a mistake, you have a loose wheel, you're pretty much going to run out of tires. It's going to have to be a mistake-free race to have a chance at the end.

Q. Can you pit right before pit road is closed, or would you lose a lap at Homestead?

RODNEY CHILDERS: I haven't looked at it this week. I'm pretty sure you would lose a lap.

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